Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Tue 25.11.08, Afternoon
Beit Iba, Shavei Shomron
13:20 Shavei Shomron
The junction is empty. One vehicle goes through without being inspected.
13:45 Beit Iba
A taxi driver tells us that it’s hard making a living – his passengers don’t have money to pay him. He blames the Palestinian leadership: “They don’t care about people.” He says that the checkpoints are closed at 21:00, “caging us in like animals.” Yesterday he took a woman to the hospital. He had to go around and come in through Bidan.
A resident of East Jerusalem, whom I saw being harassed three weeks ago by a female MP, an Ethiopian immigrant, recognizes me and stops for a brief chat. “It’s not because of security. If they care about security, let them put the checkpoint in Israel. Why here? I was born here, the MP was born in Ethiopia. Why is she here, and not me?”
Three young men tell Makki, “When you arrive, the soldiers behave worse. You shouldn’t bother coming all the way from Tel Aviv. No one even reads what you write.” We heard many comments like that today.
At the checkpoint-
At the entry to Nablus, light pedestrian traffic. Some are asked to show ID cards.
At the exit, women and elderly men go through a lane off to the side, showing ID cards. Two booths for young men; when traffic slows, one of them closes down. Men remove watches and belts, and sometimes shoes as well, before going through the metal detector. They pass their ID cards and bags they’re carrying through a small window to be inspected, to a soldier seated in a fortified position.
Vehicle traffic - One lane open entering the city, two leaving. Both are fairly crowded. Documents and permissions are inspected. Vehicles approach when a soldier signals them to do so. The inspection of vehicles entering is relatively fast. It takes on average 3-4 minutes to check one leaving. 8-10 minutes for a bus.
13:50 A bus approaches. Women and elderly man may remain seated, other men, most of them students from A-Najah, have to get off (photo attached). The passengers’ ID cards were collected ahead of time – they all know very well the procedure at the checkpoint – and were given immediately to the military policemen to inspect. They examine one more carefully. You can actually feel the tension in the group of students. As if an electric current passed among them. The MP goes over to the pedestrian booth, where the humanitarian lane is, checks whatever it is he checks, and returns immediately. You can feel the tension disappear. The bus continues. Similar inspections were carried out today on all buses that went through here.
15:10 We continued to Qalqilya.